Black Journalists’ scholarship winner merges two passions: research and writing


University at Buffalo freshman Gabriella S. Hall has always had a passion for writing, but while still a senior at City Honors School, she developed an additional drive while working as a research lab assistant at UB.

With Hall’s success working with an interdisciplinary team of graduate and undergraduate students conducting research on enhancing the viability of farms and promoting food security in marginalized communities, it occurred to her that merging the two disciplines –  research and writing – might naturally lead to a fulfilling career in journalism.

Hall is the winner of the Buffalo Association of Black Journalists’ 2019 Carl R. Allen Memorial Scholarship. The $1,000 scholarship also is supported by The Buffalo News and the Buffalo Newspaper Guild. It is awarded annually in memory of the award-winning reporter at The Buffalo News, who died in 1999. A Buffalo native, Allen reported comprehensively on issues of significance to the African American community.

Hall will receive her award at a luncheon at noon Saturday in Mount Olive Baptist Church, 701 E. Delavan Ave. Keynote speaker Dr. Anthony Neal, a SUNY Buffalo State associate professor of political science, will discuss “Telling the Story: The Imperative of Justice in Journalism.” The Daughters of Creative Sound also will perform, recounting the history of some of the nation’s earliest black journalists. Tickets are $35 and available at EventBrite, from any BABJ member or by calling 849-5598.

Hall is a dual communications and sociology major, who also is pursuing a minor in journalism at UB. She continues to pursue the work she started in high school as a research lab assistant at the UB Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab under the direction of Associate Dean Dr. Samina Raja.

In her letter of recommendation on behalf of Hall to the BABJ, Raja noted that, early on, Hall expressed an interest in pursuing a career in journalism, with a focus on writing about issues of concern to the African American community.

Raja credits the enterprising young writer with conducting independent research on the loss of land by black farmers in the southern U.S. and noted that Hall’s work is currently in review for publication on a national website. Hall is the sole author of a series of articles about the findings of her research team.

More recently, Hall co-authored a book chapter entitled “Ethical Lessons from Yesteryear” that details the historical underpinnings of community-led justice efforts in Buffalo’s African American community.

“As a mixed-race black woman and first-generation college student,” Hall wrote in her BABJ submission, she seeks to “write redefining articles and pieces that challenge social constructs about race and the systems by which colored youth often feel oppressed by and excluded from.”